Came across many checkerspot butterflies in the chaparral last week. Here are a couple of the best photos.
While passing through a creek bottom that is mostly dry this time of year, I spotted a monarch butterfly and got out of my truck to photograph it. It fluttered about and eventually I lost track of it – no photo.
Distracted by a California ground squirrel that fed at my feet, I photographed what was available – the squirrel.
While returning to the truck, the monarch appeared again and I followed it until it landed on a plant – apparently the same species of plant that it had lit on before. I snapped a few quick photos before the butterfly disappeared again. I theorized that the plant was a milkweed.
When I returned home I looked up the plant. Sure enough it is called “narrow leaf milkweed.” According to an internet source, there are fourteen species of milkweed in California.
Later I found out that the narrow-leaf milkweed is also called whorled leaf milkweed and they are a host plant for monarch butterfly larvae.
Click on photos to enlarge.
May is a time for rattle snakes.
But, it’s also a time for wildflowers and butterflies.
That’s primarily what caught my eye last Wednesday at the ranch. Here are a few photos. (read more)
One week left in the archery turkey season and I haven’t loosed an arrow. Actually I haven’t hunted since opening day. Last year’s turkey crop was below par and only one gobler is living on our ranch where we generally hunt. However, there are still turkeys in the area and with this spring’s rain promoting good grass growth, I’m optimistic that this summer will produce good sized flocks for next year. I may still make one more attempt before the archery season concludes next weekend.
It’s the time of year when we conduct Alameda whipsnake surveys and I was out again this week. Although snakes were scarce, I did take a few photos and here’s a sample. According to Rob, this first photo is of a buckeye butterfly.
This checkspot butterfly posed nicely. This is most likely a chalcedon checkerspot.
Redtailed hawks rode the thermals. You can tell this bird is mature because their tails don’t turn red until they’re a couple years old.
It’s time to start planning for deer season. It looks like I’ll be hunting Nevada and California again this year. Time to tune up the bow and start shooting more often as the coastal archery season is only two months away.
Although I didn’t find any whipsnakes, a few other critters found the eye of my camera.
The weather was cool and mostly sunny. Here are a few of the creatures I observed.
Western fence lizards are a primary food source for whipsnakes.
Horned larks chased bugs in the short grass on the ridge top.
I bumped into this young big and a larger buck as they fed on the open ridge at mid-day.
All and all it was a good day at the ranch, even without a whipsnake sighting.
Took a little trip to the ranch this week and came home with photos of a few early spring wildflowers. They’re not your run of the mill favorites and I didn’t know for sure the names of any of them. Nor did I know the name of the only butterfly species I found.
Therefore you can take the quiz and don’t feel bad if you can’t name these. The plants were all less than a foot tall and the flowers all less then the diameter of a nickel.
Here you go. As I figure them out I’ll post them. You can also comment with your answers if you like. Maybe it will help my research.
Ok. There you go. Of course I have the advantage because I saw them in person. I’ll be refering to the guide books and also my biologist friend, but my brother may already know them all as he’s on top of this stuff.
Another Bay Area endangered butterfly is the callippe silverspot. The reason for its decline is clear. Its habitat is grasslands in San Francisco and other cities surrounding San Francisco Bay.
In the Livermore Hills we find a variety of callippe butterfly that is similar. As with the callippe silverspot, this callippe butterfly is associated with violets and we have plenty of them on our ranch.